Halloween Decorations Are Over the Top This Year!

“Spooky animatronics. Giant skeletons. Twelve-foot-tall inflatable ghosts. The countdown to Halloween is on, and the frightful front yard displays this year look bigger and more ghoulish than ever.” B. Bowker, Boston Globe Staff, October 21, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post With Answer Key

Steve Sardella fills up a Halloween cauldron in front of his home. Matthew J Lee, Globe Staff

Excerpt:  Halloween decorations have taken over yards around Mass. By Brittany Bowker, Globe Staff,  October 21, 2021

“You’re not imagining it. Consumer spending on Halloween-related goods is expected to reach an all-time high of $10.4 billion this year, up from a pandemic-deflated $8 billion in 2020 and $8.8 billion in 2019, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation.

This is the second year Maureen Lawson (right) and Tim MacClean went big with Halloween. “The Ghoulgenheim had an eclectic mix of horror themes. J. Rinaldi, Globe Staff

That boost in spending is largely driven by home and yard decorations — a trend sparked last year when COVID restrictions meant most kids weren’t trick-or-treating and adults couldn’t go to Halloween parties…Steve and Samantha Sardella of Tewksbury said they have definitely spent more this year on their annual Halloween yard display. It grew during the pandemic in 2020, but this year it’s even bigger.

A skeleton takes a bubble bath on Maureen Lawson and Tim MacClean’s front yard in Wilmington.Jessica Rinaldi, Globe Staff

‘Feedback was the biggest motivator,’ Steve Sardella said. ‘Neighbors would stop by and say, ‘We love your house. Our kids love the decorations.’ We want to top each year.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

 

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Houses can be seen with spooky animatronics.
  2. There are also Giant skeletons and inflatable ghosts.
  3. That boost in spending is largely driven by home and yard decorations.
  4. Spooky decor was a safe, socially distanced way to celebrate the holiday.
  5. This year, 52 percent of Americans are planning to decorate for Halloween.
  6. Spending is projected to surge to $3.17 billion, up from last year’s $2.59 billion.
  7. It grew during the pandemic in 2020, but this year it’s even bigger.
  8. Feedback from neighbors  was the biggest motivator.
  9. More people have elaborate displays this year.
  10. Visitors can spot witches and ghouls gathered around a smoky cauldron at some homes.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Your not imagining it.
  2. The countdown to Halloween is on.
  3. Displays this year look bigger.

II

  1. That boost in spending is largely driven by home and yard decorations.
  2. A trend sparked last year.
  3. It was a way to bring joy too kids.

III

  1. This year, 52 percent of Americans are planning too decorate for Halloween.
  2. Gravestones dot the front  of many yards.
  3. People still seem very interested in sending cards this year.

Reading Comprehension Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “It was a way to bring joy to kids who may not be able to ask for candy, but could still walk around the neighborhood and see decorations.”
  2. “Feedback was the biggest motivator…Neighbors would stop by and say, We love your house.”
  3. “There wasn’t much for people to do, but at least they could drive around and look at lights — like they do during Christmastime.”
  4. “It starts with a princess castle that I turn into a haunted castle…I board up the windows and put up spider webs, and then the majority of the front yard is light-up pumpkins.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Why are people more interested in celebrating Halloween this year?
  2. Are you decorating more than usual this Halloween? Why or why not?
  3. Which well known athlete is joining in the Halloween spirit this year?

ANSWER KEY

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